What's hot: In lower Tampa Bay, winter means redfish, speckled trout, flounder and sheepshead. Unlike snook in winter, these species are still eager to take an offering. Jason Kidd, Dick Moore and his son, Ryan, found out just how eager recently on a morning charter. Our plan was simple: target deep water. Our rig was simple as well. Live shrimp for bait, 20-pound braided line, 20-pound fluorocarbon leader, a No. 1 hook with a quarter-ounce split shot.
The first stop proved fruitless, so we quickly moved to a residential deepwater shoreline scattered with boat docks. It wasn't long before the Indiana trio quickly found out how hard it is to catch sheepshead. But once they learned the feel of the bite, a few ended up in the fish box for dinner.
Redfish aren't nibblers like sheepshead, as the younger Moore found out when his shrimp got slammed. Then the elder Moore brought in a red, and soon the reds were on the rampage. But as quickly as the reds turned on, they turned off, so we moved to a deep, grassy pool next to a mud flat. We changed our rig by taking off the split shot and using a weighted cork. Trout and flounder found their way into the boat. But bottle-nosed dolphins found the boat as well and ended our day.
Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376.